orca(1) User Commands orca(1)
orca - a screen reader / magnifier
orca [--gui-setup] [--text-setup] [--no-setup] [--disable=options] [--enable=options]
[--user-prefs-dir] [--help] [--version] [--quit]
orca is a screen reader for people with visual impairments, and provides alternative
access to the desktop by making use of speech synthesis, braille, and magnification sup-
port on the platform.
In addition, orca only provides access to applications/toolkits that support the assistive
technology service provide interface (AT-SPI), which include GTK, Mozilla, Firefox, Evolu-
tion, OpenOffice, StarOffice, Java/Swing, etc.
The following options are supported:
-s, --gui-setup, --setup
When starting orca bring up the GUI configuration dialog.
When starting orca initiate the text-based configuration.
When starting orca force the application to be started without configuration, even
though it might have needed it. This is useful when starting orca via something like
When starting orca, specify the directory as an alternate directory for the user pref-
When starting orca, force the enabling of the supplied options.
When starting orca, force the disabling of the supplied options.
-?, -h, --help
Show the help message of this release of the orca program.
Return the orca version number.
In order for the "Accessible GNOME Desktop" to be accessible to users who are blind or
have low vision, users will need to employ an assistive technology (AT) that exposes the
graphical desktop information encoded in the GNOME Accessibility Framework.
Customers with blind employees/students need to have the ability to adapt and customize
their assistive technology solutions - both to improve the efficiency of their blind users
(to help make up for disadvantages inherent in not being able to "see" the entire screen
immediately at a glace), and also to "work around" poorly designed and not particularly
accessible applications that their blind users need to use.
orca is an extensible assistive technology that provides end-user access to applications
and toolkits that support the GNOME Accessibility Framework. It has been designed with
direct continual feedback from its disability user community.
orca uses a "scripting" approach to easily allow customization per application and pro-
vides the ability for each user to further customize their AT environment based on their
own preferences. The "scripting" approach of orca provides a much more adaptable and com-
pelling assistive technology solution than existing AT for the JDS desktop.
Functionally orca does 4 major things:
1. Present information to the user via speech synthesis (text-to-speech), or refreshable
braille (hardware connected to serial or USB port), or a magnified image on the user's
2. Acquire information from the applications and desktop graphical display via the GNOME
3. Track events occurring in the applications and desktop graphical display via the GNOME
4. Intercept and optionally consume user input events from the system keyboard and the
buttons on a refreshable braille display. Based on the input, orca will either pass
the event on to the application for normal processing, execute orca-specific commands
(such as reading the next line in the display or panning the braille display), or per-
form operations on application objects (such as clicking buttons or modifying text
orca will also:
o be a collection of building blocks that comprise screen reading and magnification
technology, including use of text-to-speech, braille input/output, magnification
logic, screen reading logic, keyboard and mouse interception modules, and event coa-
o be developed with the standard GNOME build environment.
o support multiple braille displays.
o support the gnome-speech module for text-to-speech.
o intercept keyboard & mouse events through the GNOME Accessibility Framework and other
supported X mechanisms.
o support the gnome-mag module to provide end-user magnification of the screen between
2 and 16 times magnification in integer increments.
o render its own graphical user interface using GTK+ widgets.
o provide a scripting mechanism, giving it the ability to customize how each applica-
tion on the JDS desktop is handled by orca.
o provide further customization on a per-user basis.
orca provides a set of its own keyboard commands. Note that you can always enter orca's
"learn mode" while running orca by pressing Insert+F1. When in learn mode, orca will
intercept all keyboard and braille input events and will tell you what the effect of them
would be. To exit learn mode, press the escape key.
o Commands for adjusting speech parameters
- Insert-right arrow
increase speech rate
- Insert-left arrow
decrease speech rate
- Insert-up arrow
raise the pitch
- Insert-down arrow
decrease the pitch
o Flat review commands
- Numpad-7 move the flat review cursor to the previous line, and read it.
- Numpad-8 read the current line.
- Numpad-9 move the flat review cursor to the next line, and read it.
- Numpad-4 move the flat review cursor to the previous word, and read it.
- Numpad-5 read the current word.
- Numpad-6 move the flat review cursor to the next word, and read it.
- Numpad-1 move the flat review cursor to the previous character, and read it.
- Numpad-2 read the current character.
- Numpad-3 move the flat review cursor to the next character, and read it.
- Numpad-slash perform a left mouse click at the location of the flat review cursor.
- Numpad-star perform a right mouse click at the location of the flat review cur-
Note: the above commands apply when working with objects as well as when working with
text. For example, if the flat review cursor were positioned on a menu bar, pressing the
read current line command would speak the names of all visible menus. Similarly, pressing
read next word would speak the object to the right of the flat review cursor on the same
line, or move flat review to the next line if no more objects were found.
o Miscellaneous functions
enter learn mode (press escape to exit)
speak font and attribute information for the current character.
launch the orca Configuration dialog.
reload user settings and reinitialize services as necessary.
toggle speech on and off
toggle the reading of tables, either by single cell, or whole row.
o Commands for debugging
- Insert-F3 report information on the currently active script.
- Insert-F4 cycle through orca's various debug levels.
- Insert-F5 prints a debug listing of all known applications to the console where
orca is running.
- Insert-F7 prints debug information about the ancestry of the object with focus.
- Insert-F8 prints debug information about the application with focus.
Note, in order for the last three commands to be of use, orca needs to be started from a
virtual console or via gnome-terminal. Output is sent to the console only (i.e., it is not
sent to speech or braille).
The following exit values are returned:
0 Application exited successfully
1 Application exited with error
2 orca cannot parse its command line options.
The following files are used by this application:
/usr/bin/orca orca executable
~/.orca/user-settings.py user's personal configuration settings for orca
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
|Availability |SUNWgnome-a11y-orca |
|Interface stability |Volatile |
orca online reference manual.
Latest version of the GNOME Accessibility Guide for your platform.
Latest version of the GNOME Desktop User Guide for your platform.5
Written by Rich Burridge, Sun Microsystems Inc., 2006, 2007.
SunOS 5.11 12 Nov 2007 orca(1)